Sprinting to first

Jones runners place first individually in city championships


SUCCESS: Evelyn Hett ‘23 and Sam Berlinghof ‘24 after receiving individual first-place varsity medals.

Evelyn Hett ‘23 and Sam Berlinghof ‘24 both won the individual varsity city title at the Chicago Public League (CPL) Cross Country City Championships at Washington Park on Oct. 15. 

Hett faced some obstacles last year and planned to make this her best race. 

“I was super happy with [the race], especially with going from last year where I had to pull out because of an injury, and then to come back and win it senior year,” said Hett. 

Entering the race, Hett commented that she had a plan to place first. 

“I definitely went out with the intention of winning, trying to keep it technical. I tried to stay relaxed the first mile and then put in a surge,” said Hett.

Berlinghof, however, noted that he took a different route, as he decided to run based on feel, not strategy.

“I was feeling very good throughout the race, very relaxed. I thought, why not lead if I felt so good,” said Berlinghof. 

Even with the pressure, Hett vocalized that she still remembered to relax and enjoy her last city course. 

“I think there’s always a little bit [of pressure], especially with rankings and what other people are saying, but I try not to put too much pressure on this race,” said Hett. “At the end of the day, it’s senior year. It’s supposed to be a fun race.” 

Berlinghof stayed focused on himself amid the pressure. 

“And maybe there was a little pressure from the team but other than that I felt confident in myself,” said Berlinghof. 

Hett’s win made her the second female runner to bring back the gold for Jones, with the first being Katie Murray ‘20 in 2019. 

“It feels amazing, [but] even more so, we were able to get the first team victory. It’s the most impressive thing,” said Hett.

Berlinghof also added his name to the Jones history books as he became the fourth runner in Jones history to win the boys individual varsity championship. 

“It feels good to be a part of a high-achieving group of Jones runners, and I know that there’ve been a lot of incredible runners in the past,” said Berlinghof. “I’m looking to continue to improve.”

The win from Berlinghof represented more than just a first-place medal. 

“I think it’s just a testament to Berlinghof himself. He’s put in a lot of work for not being healthy this year,” said Carson Vittorio, head coach of the Boys’ Cross Country team.  “It was just a testament to all the trouble he had to go through.” 

The team expressed great happiness as a result of Hett’s victory. 

“[I am] so extremely proud and excited for Evelyn. This has been a combination of a lot of her hard work and it’s cool to see the fruits of her labor play out in that way,” said Girls Cross Country Head Coach Tanner Beebe.

However, the win was not a surprise to some, as Hett’s work showed she was championship worthy. 

“There’s a mix of pride and expectation. She was the most fit in the field, and we expected her to win.  She has set the bar for herself that way,” said Beebe. 

Both runners displayed support and pride to see each other win their respective individual titles for the school.

“It was really cool to get two [individual varsity] city titles at Jones,” said Berlinghof.  “It’s great [that] we have two such high-achieving runners.”